Flashback: Comedy maestro Jay Leno delivers emotionally charged goodbye as ‘Tonight Show’ host

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A top rated, decidedly less depressing era ended when Jay Leno gracefully handed the keys of “The Tonight Show” over to Jimmy Fallon. Read a thorough review along with exclusive photos and video detailing Leno’s final episode. Backstage at “The Tonight Show” studio in downtown Burbank, California, on January 22, 2014, Jay Leno reflects on a remarkable 22-year legacy as host of the venerable late night institution. Photography by Austin Hargrave / The Hollywood Reporter
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The big dog wins again: Jay Leno delivers his legendary “Tonight Show” monologue one more time on February 6, 2014. Photography by Stacie McChesney / NBCUniversal
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Talk show host Jay Leno is overwhelmed while delivering his final address to “The Tonight Show” audience on February 6, 2014. Photography by Stacie McChesney / NBCUniversal
Click to watch as Jay Leno shed tears profusely while delivering an emotionally charged farewell address to his audience during the final episode of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on February 6, 2014. Garth Brooks closed the show with bro-country party anthem “Friends in Low Places.” Video Credit: YouTube user Tom Thayer / Big Dog Productions / NBCUniversal
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In an unusual move, Jay Leno perches on his desk while watching fellow legendary stand-up comic Billy Crystal lead a rendition of “So Long, Farewell” from “The Sound of Music” with surprise cameos from Oprah Winfrey, Kim Kardashian, Jack Black, Carol Burnett, Sheryl Crow, and Jim Parsons. Photography by Chris Haston / NBCUniversal
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Along with pianist Marc Shaiman and an appropriate “Sound of Music”-inspired dance troupe, witty actor Billy Crystal sends off pal Jay Leno with a fine rendition of the 1965 musical blockbuster’s “So Long, Farewell” on the 4, 610th ultimate episode of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on February 6, 2014. Photography by Chris Haston / NBCUniversal
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Zany comedian-singer Jack Black and reality TV darling Kim Kardashian flank Jay Leno as he observes contemporary Billy Crystal and other surprise guests deliver a fine rendition of “The Sound of Music’s” musical number “So Long, Farewell” on the ultimate 4,610th episode of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on February 6, 2014. Photography by Stacie McChesney / NBCUniversal
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Singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow, comedy trailblazer Carol Burnett, Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno, Kim Kardashian, Jack Black, basketball star Chris Paul, Billy Crystal, “The Big Bang Theory’s” Jim Parsons, and pianist-composer Marc Shaiman gather for a hastily arranged photo op at the close of “So Long, Farewell,” part of the ultimate 4,610th episode of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on February 6, 2014. Photography by Chris Haston / NBCUniversal
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As certified by the RIAA, America’s best-selling solo artist of all time, country icon Garth Brooks, punctuates the final chords of “Friends in Low Places” during the final telecast of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on February 6, 2014. Photography by Stacie McChesney / NBCUniversal
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Jay Leno applauds just out of camera range as Garth Brooks exults his pal with “Friends in Low Places” on the final telecast of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on February 6, 2014. Photography by Stacie McChesney / NBCUniversal
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Backstage at NBC Studio 6-B in the Comcast building at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, Jay Leno makes his fourth guest appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on June 15, 2016. Image Credit: Jimmy Fallon’s official Twitter

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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